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Financial Crimes

Operation Thumbprint

"Operation Thumbprint" is a program developed by the San Diego Police Department in an effort to deter financial fraud and identity theft with the use of Inkless Ink thumb printing. Directed primarily at local San Diego merchants, losses at the point of sale can be prevented by obtaining a thumbprint from the prospective customer. Later, if the transaction is found to be fraudulent, this print could be used to assist law enforcement in an effort to identify the criminal.

For further information, contact the San Diego Police Department Financial Crimes Unit at (619) 531-2545.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who may participate in "Operation Thumbprint"?
Retail merchants and employees of financial institutions who have routine personal contact with customers.

What kind of documents apply in this program?
"Operation Thumbprint" applies to all negotiable financial instruments that are used to conduct legal and acceptable forms of business which include checks, credit cards, credit applications, loan applications, new bank accounts and non-account holding bank customers.

How do I obtain a print?
Simply have the customer place their right thumb on the inkless pad, then transfer the print to the document being negotiated.

Where do I place the thumbprint?
Generally speaking, the thumbprint is pressed onto the face of the check and onto the merchant's copy of the receipt or voucher for credit or sale. On all other documents, place it wherever clear space is available.

Do I need to witness the print being obtained?
Yes. If the print is not witnessed, the print will not be accepted as an identifier of the person passing the instrument. Do not accept a "preprinted" document.

Do I need to put a print on all checks and credit card sales?
No, but having a thumbprint will increase the potential of apprehending a suspect if you find that you have accepted a fraudulent document.